Enter Place Without Authority/Lawful Excuse

by Doogue O’Brien George

The maximum penalty for entering a place without authority or lawful excuse is a fine not exceeding 25 penalty units or alternatively, a term of imprisonment for a period not longer than 6 months. These are the maximum sentences that can be imposed and are usually only given where the circumstances of the offence are very serious.

The Magistrates’ Court will commonly hear charges relating to this offence. In the period between January 2010 and December 2012, a total number of 1,600 cases were sentenced for this offence by the courts in Victoria.

Section 9(1)(e) of the Summary Offences Act 1966 (Vic) contains the relevant provision for this offence. It states that a person who enters any private place or specified public place without authority or lawful excuse commits an offence, unless they entered it for a legitimate purpose.

A finding of guilt of a criminal charge may have serious adverse consequences. It is important that you seek legal advice from a criminal lawyer as soon as you are charged to  get the best possible outcome. Your lawyer will look at your circumstances and discuss with you the best course of action with regards to a guilty plea or a challenge in court.

The elements of this offence are:

  • The accused willfully entered a private place or a Scheduled public place;
  • The accused did so without express or implied authority given by the owner or occupier or given by an authorized person on behalf of the owner or occupier;
  • The accused did so without any other lawful excuse; and
  • The accused did not do so for a legitimate purpose.

There are defences which may apply to your case. They include claim of right, mental impairment, consent, duress, self defence, honest and reasonable mistake of belief, necessity, impossibility, lack of intent, intoxication, sudden or extraordinary emergency. Your lawyer may also raise a factual errors or a failure by the prosecution to prove the elements beyond reasonable doubt.


Doogue O’Brien George are a leading Victorian criminal law firm who have extensive criminal law and jury trail experience, acting for clients who are pleading not guilty and clients who are pleading guilty. With five offices in Melbourne’s busiest Court precincts and more Accredited Criminal Law Specialists than any firm in Victoria, a Doogue O’Brien George lawyer will handle your case with determination and fight for your rights. Visit www.criminal-lawyers.com.au or call 03 9670 5111 for more information. You will need proper advice and support to get the best possible result.


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